This delicious black bean casserole is inexpensive and can be prepared ahead and frozen for later.
1 pound dried black beans
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
1 large onion, 1/2 roughly chopped and 1/2 thinly sliced
6 sprigs cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (approximately)
3 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
10 corn tortillas
frozen or canned corn (about 2 medium cans should be enough)
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed, roughly chopped
freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 jalapeno peppers, sliced crosswise (optional--just adds extra spice if desired..with kids, maybe not a good idea)
Place beans, cilantro sprigs, salt, and chopped onion in a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 1 1/2 -2 hours. Add water as necessary. For a shortcut, you can always use cans of black beans and add onion and salt and simmer for about 20 minutes or so to get flavors blended.
Place beans and some of the liquid from the pot into a blender and puree.
Heat oil in a skillet as beans are cooking. Saute sliced onion about 4-5 minutes until softened.
Layer a buttered casserole cooking dish with a layer of zucchini, corn tortillas, corn, sauteed onion, and bean puree,layer of cheese, and layer of chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
Continue layering this way until dish is full. Garbish top with cheese, jalapenos and black olives if desired.
Cook in preheated oven @ 350 degrees for one hour.